4. 21st century leadership the “cornerstone” in teacher development through open distance learning

Author: Notion Mabwe


The increasing international interest in open and distance learning and the subsequent expansion of the respective institutions and programmes is a most remarkable development in the field of education and training of recent years. There seems to be no doubt that open and distance learning is in a process of establishing itself as an integral part of educational delivery systems. Teachers are the single biggest in-school influence on student achievement and teacher quality is therefore central to improving education systems around the world. This paper exposed how contemporary leadership influence teacher development programs in preparing teachers with the values, skills, and knowledge not just to keep abreast with the times but also be ahead of their time. The author explored the development of distance learning through an effective leadership using available and emerging e-learning and online technologies in relation to increased demand for education, training, skills, and certification in the global school economy of the 21st century. The evidence that weak school leadership leads to poor school performance and high teacher turnover, while effective principles lead to significant school improvement, has made the teacher development through open and distance learning a new priority in many nations. The paper highlighted on major function of leadership among others, the leadership roles in open distance learning, the creation of vision for future, establish strategic priorities and develop an environment of trust within and between education institutions. As one of the leaders in teacher development, Open Distance Learning leaders play crucial role as candidates for educational institutions due to their ability to couple technical and conceptual skills while collaboratively working. The paper broadly provided the reader with sense of where open distance learning is heading, and the leadership skill required for progress hence highlighting the abilities of leaders in education to provide educational institutions with leadership necessary to move institutions into 21st century and beyond.

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